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SUWANEE — Fresh routines began bright and early on Monday morning as students, parents, teachers and administrators said goodbye to summer and hello to a new school year in Gwinnett.
“All of the students come back excited, all the teachers are excited, you can feel the energy,” North Gwinnett High School assistant principal Brad Siegfried said. “About like a ballgame, first ballgame of the year, everybody is excited about it.”
For the first time in more than a decade, Gwinnett County Public Schools did not open any new facilities. The district operates 132 facilities, which are 77 elementary schools, 26 middle schools, 19 high schools, and 10 special entities.
GCPS spokeswoman Sloan Roach said there weren’t any reports of incidents in the morning. She said traffic patterns would smooth out as the week goes on as parents and bus drivers get used to new routines.
New teacher orientation began two weeks ago, and most schools had student orientation late last week. That’s when students and parents met new teachers, picked up schedules, found lockers and parking spaces and paid for school
“The old saying, ‘The hay’s in the barn,’” North Gwinnett High School Principal Ed Shaddix said. “If you’re scrambling on Day 1, you didn’t do something previously.
Shaddix said things begin to settle down after the first week.
GCPS has a projected enrollment of 162,635 students, the 14th-largest district in the country, and 11 principals are new to their school this year. The district has 615 new teachers and about 265 more students than last year.
Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks said Monday was a success for the district. “We are off to a great start to the school year in Gwinnett,” Wilbanks said. “Day one has gone smoothly and that is due to the hard work of our teachers and staff. We appreciate all they have done to ensure we were ready for students.”